““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
the perfect gift
Too many gift recipients and too little time? Relax. We’ve done the legwork, scouring the Internet, studying the catalogs and cruising the store aisles. Result: winning ideas for everyone on your list, from senior staffers to sweethearts and from $7.50 to $1.5 million. by Jennifer Leach English
...On a Luxurious Flight
We also love Manito silk pajamas and sleep masks. Chinese family-owned Manito has long been known for its luxurious silk bedding and mattresses, and the company now offers mulberry silk pajamas that are gorgeous enough to wear at a dinner party. The sleep mask is so soft you won’t even know you have it on.
Pajamas, $244; sleep mask, $39, at manitosilk.com
Sometimes only caffeine will do the trick, and the Handpresso Wild Outdoor Set delivers perfect espresso on the road. This travel pack-age includes four unbreakable cups, a heavy-duty stainless-steel thermo-insulated flask and two napkins. The innovative espresso maker works with regular ground coffee or ESE (easy-serving espresso) pods.
About $200 at essentialespresso.com
Dream, Baby, Dream
Every parent knows the stress of trying to find suitable sleep arrangements for baby while on the road. Traditional pack-and-play portable cribs have been cumbersome and uncomfortable. Not so the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light 2. It’s easy to assemble and super plush. What’s more, it weighs just 11 pounds and folds up compactly. An absolute dream.
$300 at giggle.com
Work it Off
The unobtrusive Up wristband comes in several vibrant colors and three sizes and lasts 10 days before it needs to be charged. Users can plug it into most smartphones to see information about steps taken and zzzs achieved. It also has an alarm feature that slowly wakes the wearer through a series of vibrations at exactly the right moment in the sleep cycle.
About $130 at jawbone.com
Work it Off
The fitbit flex, another wristband fitness tracker, lights up to show you in real time how well you are doing at staying active, and offers reminders to get up and take a walk. It also tracks the quality of sleep you are getting each night and provides a detailed report via a smartphone app. It is easy to wear (will not snag clothing), water-resistant and available in two sizes.
About $100 at fitbit.com
Once in a while, something sweet comes along that is worth every calorie. San Francisco-based Poco Dolce’s Chocolate Tile in Burnt Caramel is a case in point. In fact, it’s the best chocolate we have ever tasted. Everything about the experience — starting with the clean, navy blue gift box — delights the senses.
$34 for 16 pieces at pocodolce.com
The Salt & Ayre salted collection, from handmade-chocolate company Harbor Sweets, is hard to resist, with four morsels presented in a cute box. Included are two squares of caramel with Himalayan sea salt, one square of crystallized ginger with Thai ginger sea salt and one featuring almond buttercrunch toffee enhanced with chipotle sea salt.
$7.50 at harborsweets.com
Vosges chocolate is known for its unique, strangely tasty approach to chocolate pairings. (Bacon and milk chocolate, anyone?) The Smoke and Stout Caramel Bar — dark chocolate filled with a gooey caramel center — makes our mouths water.
$7.50 at vosgeschocolate.com
It's a Wrap
The gauzy, richly colored, oversized scarves from the Sheila Johnson Collection manage to be warm when it’s cold and just right when it’s warm, so your gift recipient can go from a New York winter to cocktails in Anguilla without missing a beat. Each scarf represents a moment in the travels of Sheila Johnson, who designed the pieces based on her own photographs. A portion of proceeds goes to Street Soccer USA’s Lady Salamanders Initiative, which employs sports to help underprivileged women.
$395 at sheilajohnsoncollection.com
Catch a Wave
Who doesn’t love the Beach Boys? Even toddlers start boogeying the minute they hear “Surfin’ Safari.” The new Made in California collection offers the best one-stop shop for the group’s incredible catalog. On six discs, it delivers 173 tracks — more than seven and a half hours of music — and hits all the important bases. An accompanying hardcover book is filled with reminiscences, memorabilia and photos.
About $120 at amazon.com
Know someone who’s always complaining that his cellphone is running low on power? The best thing about this portable mobile charger — besides the fact that it buys the user up to 14 extra hours of battery time and is compatible with almost every smartphone — is that it’s thin and light enough to fit easily in a purse or pocket.
$28 at geniuspack.com
For anyone planning a special trip, here’s an equally special gift: Evan McGlinn will accompany the traveler, acting as his or her personal photographer and taking up to 2,000 shots a day to capture the vacation’s most precious moments. McGlinn, who specializes in hunting and fishing photography, says his goal is to disappear into the background so that he can unobtrusively record the most special moments of each day. Afterward the photographer — whose work has appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Departures and Forbes — will present his client with a handmade album. We have seen an example of the final product and it is nothing short of magnificent.
Starting at $2,500 a day at tripmagnifica.com
What could be more fun than hopping on your Vespa to run out for a quart of milk? If you know someone who’d answer “nothing!” consider giving the new limited-edition Vespa 946 Scooter, whose design was inspired by the original 1946 model.
About $9,950 (list price); visit vespausa.com for dealers.
Would your gift recipient prefer to pedal? Iride’s high-performance bicycles are handmade in Italy. They’re light and stylish and perfect for urban riders. Custom options are available.
$2,190 and up, from irideusa.com
Got some lucky folks on your list who already seem to have everything they want? How about making charitable donations in their names? When BJT looks for reputable charities to spotlight in our “Giving Back” column, such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand, we consult Charity Navigator.com. Using a detailed evaluation system, it offers an excellent, unbiased resource that can help you figure out how to make a difference.
Ultimate Stocking Stuffer
Fractional provider Flexjet has partnered with luxury travel company Ambercrombie & Kent to offer the trip of a lifetime. Inspired by the Jules Verne adventure novel Around the World in 80 Days, the Passport to the World offers a journey to seven landmark destinations on a dedicated Challenger 605 aircraft. From an exclusive Japanese tea ceremony in Kyoto to a private opening of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia — if the sky is the limit, so is this trip.
$1.5 million for up to eight people at abercrombiekent.com/passport